Country Reports

Somalia Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) exerts limited authority outside of the capital, Mogadishu, and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's leadership is undermined by rival clans, the semi-autonomous Federal Member States (FMS), and foreign governments. Disputes between the FGS and FMS stem from candidate selection for the regional elections, the framework for conducting the 2020 national elections and revenue-sharing arrangements under the Petroleum Law finalised in May 2019 without the input of FMS. Islamist militant group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab) will continue to hold large swathes of territory in southern Somalia and, around once a month, conduct vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks and follow-up small-arms assaults in Mogadishu. Targets are government assets and personnel, except in Somaliland which is more secure.Jubaland's state election on 24-30 August 2019 are likely to motivate fighting involving small-arms between groups (less than 50) of clan militia loyal to the incumbent state president Ahmed Mohamed "Madobe" and his rival candidates, probably within the state capital of Kismayo, around Kismayo's airport, and outside the residences of presidential candidates. Property damage is unlikely, but aircraft involved in transporting rival electoral candidates and supporters probably will be seized by regional authorities. Piracy syndicates based in Mudug region in April 2019 briefly resumed targeting commercial vessels to kidnap crew members and demand ransom payments, before IHS Markit sources reported that they had since reverted to other more profitable criminal activities. The hijack of the Sri Lankan-flagged tanker Aris 13 in March 2017 is still the most recent successful hijack of a commercially significant vessel since May 2012. Somalia's economy remains heavily dependent on foreign aid and remittances to underpin growth, with subdued prospects expected amid challenging conditions. Authorities have made progress under IMF programmes. An end to civil conflict is first necessary to participate in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
Last update: August 6, 2019

Operational Outlook

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has very limited resources or the political willingness to scrutinise the use of budgetary proceeds and award of contracts by ministries, and oversight agencies are likely to face intimidation. Ministries are unlikely to fully enforce regulations on reporting of corruption, particularly within the finance, interior, and security ministries. Anti-corruption efforts are unlikely to improve the operating environment during President Mohamed's term until 2020, especially as he continues to depend on parliamentary support from Hawiye clan patrons present in these ministries. Unions are small, weak, and face intimidation by the government; they are unlikely to successfully oppose wage arrears and poor working conditions.

Last update: June 5, 2019



The Somali National Army (SNA) and regional African Union Mission in Somalia are conducting a joint offensive to secure supply routes in southern Somalia. The SNA is unlikely to retake significant territorial control or obtain full responsibility for security operations before 2020. Al-Shabaab fighters are likely to target pro-Islamic State forces in the northeastern Puntland state. However, the Islamic State's presence is unlikely to be completely eradicated, with its operations being geographically limited and focused on assassination of commercial and government personnel. Bosaso port is likely an aspirational target for both groups. IED attacks in Mogadishu occur monthly, targeting the airport, hotels, police stations, and government buildings.

Last update: August 8, 2019


Foreigners, including aid workers, and journalists, are highly likely to be targeted by Islamist militants and violent criminals, even when they are escorted by armed guards in the capital Mogadishu and especially elsewhere in southern Somalia. Air travel also represents a very high risk, particularly domestic flights operating from Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, which are unreliable, and air safety is poor. Somalia has no effective national laws or policing measures to counter organised criminal activity.

Last update: May 4, 2019

War Risks

Former Puntland president Abdiweli Gaas’s failed re-election bid in the January 2019 regional poll reduces the likelihood that plans to recapture the disputed town of Tukaraq, Sool region, will be pursued in 2019. Tukaraq was captured by rival Somaliland forces in January 2018, and both sides have deployed artillery and mechanised units there. Escalation is unlikely as neither side is militarily capable of achieving a decisive victory. Nearby ports are unlikely to be affected. Separately, relations between Galmudug state and the Sufi-oriented ASWJ militia collapsed on 24 June 2019 over disagreements with the electoral timetable, indicating an increased risk of armed skirmishes around the state's planned August 2019 election.

Last update: June 27, 2019

Social Stability


Disputes over the ongoing devolution process trigger violent protests, at least twice a year, between rival clans in Galkayo, Galmudug, Garowe, and Nugaal regions. Violent protests are likely in May–June 2019 in Mogadishu and Baidoa if Muktar Robow is not released from prison, after being arrested in December 2018 and prevented from running in the South West state presidential election. Elements of the Puntland Security Forces are likely to engage in armed protests over wage arrears involving roadblocks and the occupation of government buildings in Galkayo and Garowe.

Last update: June 5, 2019

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019


Very high

Roads throughout the country are in poor condition as they are generally neither maintained nor lit at night and traffic lights are rare. As such, driving can be a dangerous activity; it is advisable to avoid all road travel after nightfall. Additionally, landmines and IEDs are an ever present danger.

Illegal roadblocks, highway banditry, and other violent crime can occur at any time in any locality. When traveling by car, doors should be locked and windows rolled-up. 

All road travel should be undertaken with an armed escort, in a convoy, and in an all-terrain vehicle. Always travel with sufficient stocks of water, food, and fuel, as well as the necessary equipment to deal with breakdowns (spare tire, jumper cables, etc.). Always carry an effective means of communication and back-up.

Operations at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) are regularly suspended with little to no warning. Additionally, the airport and aircraft operating out of it are susceptible to attack, as was the case in February 2016, when a bomb was smuggled onto a flight. Security procedures and checks have been enhanced at MGQ; however, the fact that a bomb was able to be carried onto the plane in the first place indicates Al-Shabaab may have agents employed within the facility.

Last update: April 5, 2019


Cuts to water services and power outages are common across the country.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


Somalia has an arid climate which is slightly more temperate along the coast.

There are two rainy seasons, from March to May and again from September to December. The air is very hot and dry between December and February. In the north, temperatures are generally higher than in the rest of the country and the region also receives less rain. The coastal regions are very dry. During the summer months, monsoon winds bring slightly lower temperatures.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +252

There are no emergency services in Somalia.


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019